Quite possibly the most amazing car ever made in the history of the whole wide world, the Mazda 3 is something else and represents the start of a revolution in Mazda. This revolution went from making boring, bland, shopping trolley kind of excitement type of cars, to the sexy, sleek, highly sort after image they currently hold. Someone in the design department got the sack many years ago and whoever this new guy is, we like him. The range of cars Mazda has produced in the
past ten years (with the exception of the Tribute) all look amazing, are consistent with the new image and represent something of Mazdas branding.
It’s not all jam and scones for the Mazda 3, particularly if you’re looking at buying a secondhand one. Whilst they are great cars there are a few things to keep an eye out for that they are common for.
The factory Panasonic battery fitted to these cars are too small for the job its asked to do and often fail. We are unsure if this is due to the size of the battery causing premature failure or if there is a fault with the Panasonic product itself. (Panasonic ordinarily has a very good reputation with these kind of things). Chances are if you are buying a second hand Mazda 3 this issue would have arisen for the previous owner and the problem rectified but it’s worth checking, if its got a Panasonic battery fitted and its only using up about half the space Mazda provided in the battery box, you will need to budget for a new battery in the near future.
2. Drivers side engine mount.
Again if this vehicle has a few kilometres on it, then there is a very real chance that the engine mount has already failed and been replaced. On the drivers side of the engine is a large alloy bracket with a rubber circle below it, this is the engine mount and is hydraulic filled, that is to say it is filled with oil. If you look down past the mount and can see light brown staining below the mount it’s stuffed and needs replacing. If you’re still unsure, on top of the rubber part to the mount should be a bubble of liquid, you can push your thumb into the mount and feel if there is liquid in it. If the bubble is gone or when you push into it the bubble does not return, the mount has split and the oil has escaped. Time for a new mount.
3. Front shocks
The Mazda 3 very commonly has leaking front shock absorbers, this makes for a rough ride and premature tyre wear. The tricky thing with the these cars is the design of the front strut means you can’t see this leak when it’s happening. A large boot pulls down over the bump stop and covers the area that would reveal the leaking shock. If you’re looking at one to buy, be sure to pull the boot up and have a look at the shock absorber (the boot comes down in the middle of the spring, in the image it looks like a mini xylophone) if any of it is wet at all, it will need new front shocks.
4. Rear Brake pads
If when you test drive the car you hear what sounds like loose suspension in the back of the vehicle, fret not. The Mazda 3 has two different rear brake pads. The aftermarket companies for some reason have developed two brake pads. In some cases the incorrect pad is fitted to the rear of the car and it has a enough free play in the calliper to rattle around over bumps, giving the impression the rear suspension is falling out of the car. Its an easy enough fix once you know about it.